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General Practice Fees Issue Resolved

MEDIA RELEASE TO:

All Health Reporters/Chief Executives/Press Officers

FROM: Dr Ross Boswell, NZMA Chairman

DATE: Tuesday, 20 June 2006

SUBJECT: General Practice Fees Issue Resolved

The New Zealand Medical Association is pleased that the contract between District Health Boards and Primary Health Organisations for the roll-out of subsidies to 45-64 year olds has been settled.

“Patients will benefit by receiving the subsidy, and general practices will be able to set their own fees and thus ensure their viability, “ said NZMA Chairman Dr Ross Boswell.

“We are glad that this issue has finally been resolved and that commonsense has prevailed.

“The NZMA is committed to ensuring a strong and viable GP workforce to enable the very laudable aims of the Primary Health Care Strategy to be implemented. These aims include improved access to Primary Care, and we have always supported this” Dr Boswell said.

The NZMA’s GP Council led by Chair Dr Peter Foley, is part of the GP Leaders’ Forum, which led opposition to government proposals to control GP fees, along with the Royal New Zealand College of GPs, the Independent Practitioners Association Council of NZ, and the Rural General Practice Network.

The NZMA was an observer at the meetings where the final contract deliberations took place.

“We are comfortable that our involvement as part of the GP Leaders' Forum has protected the right of GPs to set and charge a fee,” Dr Boswell said.

“Public opinion surveys show that we are among the most respected and trusted professional occupational group. GPs provide reliable, high quality care and that should not be put at risk.”

ENDS

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